SPORT / FOOTBALL
CSL transfer window extended for a month as 3 high-profile teams face dissolution
Published: Feb 25, 2021 04:33 PM
The Chinese Football Association (CFA) has extended the domestic winter transfer window for the Chinese Super League (CSL) for a month to March 26, it announced earlier this week, amid speculation that three major clubs who are in financial crisis may be dissolved.

Defending champions Jiangsu FC, formerly known as Jiangsu Suning, are reportedly seeking for an ownership transfer, according to Soccer News newspaper.

The report said that the club's parent company Suning Holdings Group is seeking financial help domestically inside the province, but that the potential buyers did not meet their demands. 

In a New Year speech, Suning Group's chairperson Zhang Jindong vowed that the company will limit its spending on those assets that are not helping the group's major retailing business.  

If the club cannot get help from the local government, Suning may seek to sell it free of charge or dissolve it, the report said.

The Tianjin Tigers, formerly known as Tianjin Teda, reportedly owes its players' 10 months of salary, as its owner Teda Holdings has been reluctant to invest further into the club.

The club, which has been in China's top-tier football league for over two decades, has yet to start preseason training for the 2021 CSL season, local media reported.

Its social media account has also gone quiet since January 20, when it released a statement announcing the name change to Tigers. Fans flooded the post, expressing their hopes that the club won't be dissolved. 

Several players have been voicing their misgivings about the financial woes of the team, once home to Nigerian national team captain John Obi Mikel and Italy international Damiano Tommasi, along with famed China internationals Yu Genwei and Hao Junmin.   

Another Tianjin-based CSL club, Tianjin Tianhai, went defunct in May 2020 after failing to attract new investment to the outfit left debt-ridden by a rocketing deficit created by then-owners the Quanjian Group. 

It is also reported that the Hebei Football Club is looking for a new buyer, as Tangshan, a city in North China's Hebei Province, has shown its interest in purchasing the Langfang-based club. 

The once-ambitious Hebei FC, formerly known as Hebei China Fortune, was home to many international stars, including Argentina's Ezequiel Lavezzi and Javier Mascherano and Cote d'Ivoire's Gervinho.

It is believed that the financial impact due to the coronavirus epidemic in China has hugely impaired the club's operations, with their deficit mounting high after years of big spending in the Chinese top flight. 

The CFA has introduced a "neutral name policy," which requires club names to no longer bear sponsors' names, to avoid clubs heavy reliance on sponsor investment. However, it is believed that this has also prevented potential financial support to clubs.
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